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  #21  
Old 11-04-2015, 09:27 AM
Agrivere Agrivere is offline
 
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Mark,

I’ve had some time to think about your recent posts and speak with some other shooters, and wanted to share some thoughts. First, I know we all appreciate the efforts you and the rest of your team are putting forth to understand and resolve these concerns. I think its’ fair to say we all have the same goal to have matches that run smoothly and electronic targets can be a big part of that.

I do have some thoughts I’d like to share based on your recent posts. Whether we call it “data clogging” or something else, I think it’s clear that your team found some areas of concern regarding data communications and the voltage relays and addressed them. This can only help improve the system which is good for everyone.

My biggest concern relates to your live fire testing and the “missing shot” you found during that testing. Those of us reading your comments cannot fail to appreciate the irony here. A skilled shooter was shooting in the center of the 600 yard target and a shot failed to appear. Had this been a match the officials would have asked him or her to fire a verification shot, and had that shot been recorded the missing shot would go on record as a miss. I would imagine your shooter was quite certain they did not fire a miss, and yet in a match they would have been scored with a miss.

The question remains – when this occurs, what happened? Your conclusion is that the bullet came apart in flight. I obviously wasn’t there to witness any of this, but I believe that conclusion bears further scrutiny.

First, you mention that “We have seen thinly jacketed .223 rounds come apart in flight with much frequency in years past during the conduct of SAFS at Camp Perry.” What you didn’t mention is the cause of that is well known. The rifles used at the time were well worn M16’s with chrome lined barrels which were worn out to the point that they were damaging the jackets of the bullets while they traveled through the barrel. The bullets literally “exploded” shortly after leaving the barrel, which could easily be seen by observers. These rifles were replaced several years ago by new RRA National Match AR-15’s, and since then that problem has gone away, though as an aside I might mention that the current SAFS rifles are getting very worn, and if barrels aren’t replaced in the near future I expect this problem will begin again.

I don’t think anyone considers this past issue with worn out M16’s to be relevant to this discussion, as that situation was well understood and went away when new rifles were purchased. So while I think all shooters would acknowledge that it’s POSSIBLE for a bullet to come apart in flight, the truth is it’s extremely unlikely, and certainly seems to be less likely than other possible explanations. Let me explain why I reach that conclusion.

First and foremost, it’s actually quite difficult to push a .223 round hard enough in a Service Rifle to make it fly apart, assuming the rifle and barrel are in good condition. The small case capacity and 20” barrel simply don’t allow bullets to “push the envelope” to such an extent as to make bullet failure common. In fact any attempt to do so is likely to blow primers long before velocities reach the point where bullets fail. While other shooters have described “once in a blue moon” situations where a Service Rifle bullet did in fact come apart in flight, it’s the kind of thing that a shooter might experience once or twice in a decade of shooting. While I’m relatively new to this sport, I can tell you I have fired 2,300 round for record in the past 12 months and none have come apart on the way to the targets.

With match rifles and other non Service Rifles, this is indeed more common. Longer barrels and larger case capacities allow match rifle shooters and Palma shooters to “push the envelope” much further, and I think most of us have been at a match where a shooter pushed things a little too far and had bullets fail as a result. You never indicated whether your testing was done with Service Rifles or Match Rifles, so that would be an interesting piece of information to add to this discussion.

When this situation does occur, it rarely results in a single bullet failing on the way to the target, but instead many bullets over the course of a string “come apart” and fail to reach the target. This certainly does happen from time to time, but your observations seem to be inconsistent with what most of us have experienced when shots fail to reach the target.

Part of your conclusion is also based on finding a small piece of bullet jacket in the face of the target, but this fact is also inconsistent with what actually occurs when bullets come apart in flight. Think about it. In order for a piece of jacket from a bullet that came apart in flight to find its’ way to the face of the target it would have had to fly apart very close to the target, more than likely within a few yards. When bullets come apart in flight, they generally do so very shortly after leaving the barrel, when velocities and friction are highest, not at 597 yards downrange when the bullet is “asleep”.

In short, the idea that a single bullet out of a batch of bullets came apart in flight 597 yards from the firing line and that a piece of the jacket managed to embed itself in the target face almost defies reason. Is it POSSIBLE? Sure. Is it likely? I would suggest that it is not. More likely is the idea that it was just a piece of shrapnel from the bullet impact area. We’ve all seen pieces of bullets and pieces of bullet jackets end up in the strangest places in an impact area.

So as I understand it we’re still left with 10 shots fired, 9 shots recorded by the KTS system, and 9 holes in the cardboard backer. What could possibly have happened?

Crossfire. Generally the most likely cause of this scenario, but one imagines this is the first thing you checked, so I think we can rule this possibility out in this case.

Complete Miss. This of course has to date been the “official” explanation when this scenario occurs, but I think most shooters would agree this is in most cases extremely unlikely.

Bullet came apart in flight. In my opinion unlikely, but certainly possible.

“Double shot” which failed to record. Basically two shots that went through essentially the same hole, one of which was not recorded by the KTS target. Also unlikely, but possible.

Obviously all of these possible explanations are unlikely, or we’d be seeing shots fail to record constantly, and that’s clearly not the case. So the question is which of these are MORE likely.

Speaking from my personal experience, both my own shooting and sharing experience with others during a match, I would suggest that a “complete miss” is the least likely. I haven’t been doing this as long as many other shooters have, but I have never, not once, not even on my first shot at my first match, fired a complete miss at 600 yards. I’ve shot plenty of 7’s and even a rare 6, but a complete off paper miss? Never. The idea that a shooter who is shooting 9’s and 10’s would all of a sudden completely miss the paper seems like the least likely explanation.

What about a “double”? Well, that happens constantly. So common that it’s unusual to have a single relay where someone doesn’t shoot out the center of a spotter during a 600 yard relay. And of course that only happens when back to back shots go through more or less the same hole. Over the course of 20 shots it would be unusual NOT to have multiple pasters on top of each other due to multiple shots hitting in the same spot.

It’s so common, in fact, that there’s a rule in the CMP rulebook telling us how to handle it. That rule is “9 Yes”. This rule of course applies specifically to rapid fire strings, but the principle is the same. Shooter fires 10 shots, and only 9 holes can be found. We must determine if the missing shot was a Crossfire, a Complete Miss, a Double, or a bullet that came apart in flight.

Crossfires are generally easily sorted out, so we’ll put that one aside, and we’re left with 10 shots fired and 9 holes. The rule states that if the shooter placed 9 shots in the 9 ring or better they are granted a refire. This rule clearly implies that the most likely cause of a “9 Yes” is a double – two rounds through the same hole. While it’s certainly POSSIBLE that the missing shot was a complete miss or the bullet came apart in flight, the simple fact that we have this rule supports the idea that the most likely cause is simply two shots through one hole.

And I would suggest that this was the most likely cause of what you saw during testing. A shot went through the same hole as a previous shot, and failed to be recorded by the KTS system. In fact, it may have failed to record specifically BECAUSE it went through the same hole. We’ve never really gotten a good explanation as to why the KTS system uses a sound chamber, or whether it’s recording the bullet “crack” or some sort of rubber membrane impact or some combination of both.

Other electronic targets I’m aware of use sensors that specifically work from the supersonic “crack” of the bullet as they pass through the target, and “sound chambers” are unnecessary. Obviously this system would not work for pistol targets and other rounds which are not supersonic, so this suggests that the KTS system is using the sound chamber to detect shots which are not supersonic based on some sort of impact with the rubber membranes. It’s not hard to imagine if the rubber membrane were shot up enough, or a bullet passed through the same hole as a previous bullet (or bullets), that this shot detection system could be compromised. I know I’d love to learn more about how the KTS system actually works when it detects shots, both supersonic and subsonic.

Ultimately, we all appreciate the efforts the CMP has put forth in testing these targets, and I’m quite certain that in time we will work together to figure all of this out. I believe that the use of target backers will eventually tell us exactly what’s happening. Either we’ll find 19 shots recorded with 20 holes in a target backer at some point, or we will find that every shot is recorded exactly where it impacts every single time. One way or another we will know.

Until then, my suggestion is that the CMP consider changing the rules that are in place for electronic targets. Current rules require that a shooter fire a verification shot if a shot is not recorded. If that verification shot is recorded, the “missing” shot is recorded as a miss. I would suggest that instead of this, the CMP recognize that if there is any doubt the shooter should not be penalized, and modify the rules to reflect this.

This rule could take several forms. Verifiers could be asked to watch shot traces through their spotting scopes, and if a shot trace is visibly seen to enter the target but a shot is not recorded, the missing shot is simply ignored and the shooter refires that missing round. Or perhaps a modification of the “9 Yes” rule could apply, wherein if a shooter shoots 20 rounds, but only 19 are recorded, if the recorded shots are all in the 7 ring, or the 8 ring (or whatever), the shooter is granted a refire for the missing shot. Naturally all of this assumes crossfires did not occur.

I’m still very optimistic that in time all of these issues will be worked out, and I’m certainly more than happy to help that process in any way that I can. Mark, if you’re at the Talladega 600 matches I hope you’ll look for my bright neon green shooting cart (you cannot miss it) and stop by and say hello. Until then I’m sure we’ll all keep working to get this right.

Best regards,

Scott Quarles
CMP #209046
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  #22  
Old 11-05-2015, 09:24 AM
Mark Johnson Mark Johnson is offline
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The rifle that was used for testing is my personal Service Rifle. The shooter who experienced the "missing" shot was me. Their was no doubles through the cardboard at 600 yards, there were no crossfires. I was the one who conducted the investigation for CMP of the "exploiding bullets", at Camp Perry. Your knowledge of what happened at Camp Perry is insufficient, some barrel problems in combination with jacket problems. Barrel problems were addressed by CMP purchasing RRA rifles and the bullet jacket problems were addressed by Hornady. The RRA rifles used for SAFS are no where near worn out and we maintenance those rifle constantly.

Myself and many other shooters have experienced ,223 rounds coming apart. There again, I don't know if that is what happened. I could have just missed? Anyone who says they have never simply missed or that they have never cross fired has not shot in competition enough as of yet...

Our CMP target experts will be responding with in depth technical data in the next few days when the report is complete. The bottom line is KTS targets are not perfect but paper targets and pit pullers are not perfect either. It seems we all have forgotten the "missing shot" in slow fire has been a problem for years, it was not invented by electronic targets...
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  #23  
Old 11-05-2015, 11:02 AM
Mark Johnson Mark Johnson is offline
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There were no doubles through the cardboard at 600 yards, there were not crossfires. Had to fix my grammatical error...
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  #24  
Old 11-05-2015, 12:22 PM
Maury Krupp Maury Krupp is offline
 
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The question for competitors isn't "Is the KTS or human target 100% accurate?"

The question is "What will it cost me when it isn't and what recourse do I have if I believe I'm being unfairly penalized?"

With a human puller there are several options available to the competitor in the existing rules. Rules that have evolved over decades and are generally known to and are accepted by competitors as being fair enough.

The primary recourse with a human scored target is to challenge to get a second (or third or more) human to look at the target. Very often that second human will find the missing shot in a line or figure or wrinkle. Or he will have the plug or overlay necessary to find a perfect double. The shooter is only penalized after close examination of the target by multiple individuals.

Another recourse is to apply NRA Rule 14.9 Visible Hits and Close Groups. This rule applies anytime there is a hole from three adjacent hits large enough to permit a fourth shot to pass without leaving a mark. This is very common at walk-and-paste matches and gives the shooter the benefit of the doubt. He is not penalized for shooting too well.

As currently operated there is no practical challenge procedure for the KTS targets. The shooter is penalized the full ten points on the word of the target system alone. The current "verifying shot" test is useless unless the KTS system can detect a shot that went through an enlarged hole in the target without touching. Can it do that?

Other options available in the rules to competitors with missing shots on a human scored target are covered by NRA Rules 14.11 and 14.11.2 (aka 9-Yes and 9-No). For a 9-Yes any shooter capable of holding the 9-ring is given the benefit of the doubt and allowed a refire for the missing tenth shot. Once again the shooter is not penalized for shooting too well. For a 9-No the shooter is only penalized after he has lost the physical challenge of the target. Why are these existing, well known, and accepted options not being made available to competitors using the KTS targets?

There is also NRA Rule 14.13(4) Inadvertently Pulled Target where the shooter is allowed an additional shot when the human pulls or the wind blows the target down prematurely. The shooter is not penalized for what amounts to a target malfunction. When a shooter has a string of 9-10-9-X-10-M-10-X-X-10 with no crossfires or evidence that the shot went elsewhere the M is very likely a target malfunction. Why is the spirit of this rule not being applied by CMP?

In summary, competitors don't care if their target system screws up now and then.

They only care if they believe it costs them points unfairly. Give them some recourse and the benefit of the doubt before any penalty and they'll be happy.

Maury
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  #25  
Old 11-05-2015, 01:08 PM
jsudduth jsudduth is offline
 
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This will work itself out one way or the other.

If shooters continue to have a bad experience and feel like they are being treated unfairly, they just won't come back. Period.

It won't matter if the message being spread is that the KTS system is infallible if there is no one there to hear it.

Might it be a good idea to offer a full tour of the system a day or two before a big match so that the more technically inclined can get a clearer picture of how the system works?

One of the areas of interest to me after the recent "data clogging" post is what happens to a data packet that can't get to the server? What is the "time to live" for that packet? If it is discarded or corrupted is there an acknowlegement procedure in the system so that the target knows the packet was delivered or needs to be resent? Is there an error checking routine? Does the target electronics system retain the data after it has been sent so that it can be resent if necessary or is it discarded immediately after its sent? What is the transmission media/method? A 600 yard + cable run is a pretty lengthy bit of wire to get a message from one end to the other without dropping a bit here and there.

I don't know of any data transmission method that is error free. But giving the user community a bit more knowledge without divulging intellectual property might go a long way in allowing the users to feel more comfortable with the system.

Jim
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  #26  
Old 11-05-2015, 07:49 PM
Zut Zut is offline
 
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I have personally witnessed small caliber bullets coming apart. We had this big Dutch guy that used to shoot the 3x600 at River Bend with a match rifle. About every 10th shot disappeared in a small puff of gray smoke about 50 feet from his muzzle. He kept challenging the guy pulling his target in the pits.

Our match director was concerned about safety and asked what his load was. The shooter got ********ed off at the question and never came back. We figured it was only a matter of time before his gun blew up.

Speaking of River Bend, they are having a vintage military rifle match on November 21st. Come on up and help me beat Mike Decherd...
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  #27  
Old 11-06-2015, 06:52 AM
Agrivere Agrivere is offline
 
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I think Maury said it very well. We all agree that KTS targets aren't perfect and human pullers aren't perfect. Both systems will make mistakes. The only real question competitors care about is what happens when the system isn't perfect?

With human pullers there are a set of rules in place which give the shooter the benefit of the doubt whenever a question arises. When 10 shots are fired and only 9 holes appear - "9 Yes" - the rules assume a double, not a miss or an exploding bullet. Sure it's possible to eat a miss you didn't shoot with a human target puller - it's happened to me. Naturally it's also possible that the missing hole was a complete miss or an exploding bullet. Either way the shooter gets the benefit of the doubt and is allowed a refire.

The current rules in place at Talladega assume perfection on the part of the targets. If a shot fails to record the shooter is going to record a miss, almost every time (there are a few exceptions of course, but they haven't come up very often). We all agree that the KTS targets aren't perfect - Mark said it himself - but the rules assume that they are. Whether it's data clogging or bad voltage relays or simply too much wind load on the target face or something we haven't experienced yet, target failures have occurred and will occur again.

All that's really needed at this point is to adjust the rules to reflect this reality.
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  #28  
Old 11-06-2015, 07:28 AM
canes7 canes7 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zut View Post
I have personally witnessed small caliber bullets coming apart. We had this big Dutch guy that used to shoot the 3x600 at River Bend with a match rifle. About every 10th shot disappeared in a small puff of gray smoke about 50 feet from his muzzle. He kept challenging the guy pulling his target in the pits.

Our match director was concerned about safety and asked what his load was. The shooter got ********ed off at the question and never came back. We figured it was only a matter of time before his gun blew up.

Speaking of River Bend, they are having a vintage military rifle match on November 21st. Come on up and help me beat Mike Decherd...
We all know it (bullets coming apart) happens. No one is disputing that this happens. What some are having a hard time with is the claim that it happens so frequently at this one range. I wont quote statistics without hard data but in my 7 year shooting career I've only witnessed this 2 or 3 times and only heard of it a few more. To have it happen that many times, or more, in one match is what raises the skepticism level.
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  #29  
Old 11-06-2015, 07:44 AM
613jmm 613jmm is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canes7 View Post
We all know it (bullets coming apart) happens. No one is disputing that this happens. What some are having a hard time with is the claim that it happens so frequently at this one range. I wont quote statistics without hard data but in my 7 year shooting career I've only witnessed this 2 or 3 times and only heard of it a few more. To have it happen that many times, or more, in one match is what raises the skepticism level.
I don't recall anyone stating it happened frequently at this range. It was only given as an example of what may have occurred. What I am seeing is a bunch of people crying because they might have to accept a verified miss, as verified by a cut and dry system, instead of receiving the benefit of the doubt because there is room left for human error under the old system.

I think the electronics people are being nice by claiming "data clogs" or whatever. Several situations were found and verified as to why there were misses recorded, and it was backed up by the cardboard "backups" when further testing was accomplished. Since the system works by sensing when a round passes through a magnetic field, it would sense when a round goes through a previous hole.

This reminds of me when we started installing in-flight electronic monitoring systems on our helicopters in the Marine Corps. The systems were telling on the pilots, a little engine over torque here, a little over heat there. Things the pilots were supposed to be noticing and writing up when they got back from a flight. They swore up and down the systems were screwed up and at times "forgot" to activate them during a flight. Funny, the jet guys have been flying with the same type of systems for decades. Why would ours be screwed up?
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  #30  
Old 11-06-2015, 08:10 AM
jsudduth jsudduth is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 613jmm View Post
I don't recall anyone stating it happened frequently at this range. It was only given as an example of what may have occurred. What I am seeing is a bunch of people crying because they might have to accept a verified miss, as verified by a cut and dry system, instead of receiving the benefit of the doubt because there is room left for human error under the old system...
With all due respect.

Have you fired at Talladega on range 1 during a big match?

Have you followed this ENTIRE conversation?

We've all fired a miss at one time or another. Either through a crossfire or turning the knobs the wrong way or forgetting to put your 600 yard setting on your sights when you move back from 300.

Some may have even had a bullet come apart in flight.

A crossfire is easily identifiable because it shows up on someone else's target.

Turning the knobs the wrong way or forgetting to adjust from 300 to 600 will happen at the start of the string and be noticed and corrected quickly.

Having a bullet come apart happens, but not usually to several shooters at the same time all using different rifles, bullets and powder charges.

Having so many shots disappear, mid string, at one distance, in one match, such that the results for that distance are discarded is not a bunch of people crying because they had to accept a miss.

"The results were in fact so bad that the Match Director had to throw out the entire set of 600 yard scores to determine the awards for the match. While I’m sure some competitors were able to complete the string of fire without encountering any issues with the target system, I’m not aware of any."

"During this stage, 30 competitors each fired 20 shots – a total of 600 shots for record. Based on what I see in the results, 48 of those shots were recorded as misses. Fourteen of those recorded zeros were on the scorecards of High Master classified shooters, and 29 by Master classified shooters."


Trying to say that 48 bullets, or some significant subset of 48 bullets, fired by 30 competitors were all due to bullets coming apart is ridiculous. I've never seen a match fired anywhere else that had anywhere near that many misses, much less that many misses that could not be accounted for.

Quote:
Since the system works by sensing when a round passes through a magnetic field, it would sense when a round goes through a previous hole.
It has been explained previously that the system uses a sound chamber and microphones to plot the shots. The sound the system is listening for is the bullet hitting a rubber membrane that is part of the target. It does not, to the best of my knowledge, listen for the sonic crack of the bullet. If the membrane has been shot away and there is a hole large enough for a bullet to pass through, the target won't "hear" it. Magnetics a has nothing to do with it.

Jim

Last edited by jsudduth; 11-06-2015 at 08:24 AM.
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